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Background

After losing a job several years ago, my wife applied for unemployment. Initially, they approved her for unemployment and sent her the first payment (sans tax). Later, they reversed the decision and demanded her to pay back the amount including tax (which was more than what they paid her). There was plenty of back-and-forth trying to lower the amount to what she actually received (the post-tax amount). Not too long after that, and having not heard back from them on some items, we realized their deadline for re-payment had passed. We were notified they immediately filed a judgement and had a lien put on my wife's taxes. That lien was paid a couple years ago.

Now

I'm in the middle of helping build my wife's credit score. In the process, I'm trying to remove the derogatory mark left on her credit report by that paid judgement. Is there any possible route to removing those marks before the standard 7 years passes? or are we out of luck and stuck waiting?

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    As an addendum to my answer below, you can always call the creditor and ask, I suppose. The answer's "no" if you don't try, right? – Daniel Anderson Feb 14 '17 at 0:46
  • "We were notified they immediately filed a judgement and had a lien put on my wife's taxes" Huh? What do you mean, "judgement[sic]"? Was there a court case? – Acccumulation Apr 9 '18 at 14:57
  • @Acccumulation We were never notified of any court date or given a chance to defend ourselves at all. We learned about this a while after the fact, when we found out there was a lien put against her taxes and saw the judgement listed on Credit Karma. – faazshift Apr 9 '18 at 20:54
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A creditor can remove something from your credit report any time they choose, although there's no reason to once the account has been paid and closed out.

Sometimes it can be possible to negotiate with a creditor to change or remove an item as part of a repayment, but in this situation there's no incentive for the creditor to do so.

You cannot have anything removed from your report as long as what has been reported is accurate. Only creditors can do that.

The effect of that lien is lessening with the passage of time, especially since it was paid. Where that lien would continue to do significant harm is if it were still unpaid and subject to collection. Many lenders pay much closer attention to more recent credit activity than something that is years old, so even though the lien will still show for some time to come, its consequences on your wife's credit are becoming less significant by the day, as long as she has positive history since then.

For example, many mortgage lenders don't look too far beyond the last two years when making lending decisions, so although they'll see the old account, it won't have as much consequence on their decision as you might think.

Certainly your wife will struggle to achieve a credit score much above the low 700s as long as that lien is showing, but it doesn't make her a high credit risk, and the most significant effect will be that she might pay slightly higher interest rates for the credit she obtains in the meantime.

  • Thanks for the elaborate and helpful answer! I'll probably try giving them a call. It's at least worth a shot. – faazshift Feb 15 '17 at 1:08

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protected by Community Apr 9 '18 at 14:13

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